Do you often wonder how much privacy you have online? From your emails, chat convos, and backups to running and maintaining a website or a blog, your internet life isn’t exactly 100 percent safe.

Yes, cyber attacks happen all the time.

But you don’t have to get paranoid about that as long as you take some precautionary measures that will save you a lot of trouble. The best thing you can do is to understand the basics of how to avoid exposing yourself and becoming vulnerable, and consider some of the tools that will keep you covered while you’re online.

Let’s look at a few ways of protecting yourself from the digital bad guys.

Why You Should Encrypt Your E-mail

Checking e-mails is the number one task we do online, at least twice a day. We need to communicate, stay in touch and exchange ideas. While setting strong e-mail passwords is always recommended, whether you’re using web-based solutions like Gmail, Yahoo and Outlook, or an e-mail client, this no longer seems to be enough.

The main reason why you should encrypt your e-mail is to simply keep your data safe from people or organizations that have the means to break into your accounts, steal and reset your passwords and log in as yourself.

Not only can they read your e-mails, but they also pull information about you that should be yours and yours only. Just visualize for a moment the journey of your e-mail messages across different networks that are more or less secure and monitored. Scary, right? You don’t know when Big Brother looks over your shoulder and reads information that should remain private.

If you’re not exactly tech-savvy, there are easy solutions you can implement. Jack Wallen at TechRepublic has put together a list of five free applications you can use to easily encrypt your e-mail.

Keep Your Chat Conversations Between You and Your Counterpart

The same element of privacy goes for your online chat convos too. There are so many options for connecting with people across the globe and even more directions from where you can become a target of internet security breach.

You can encrypt, for instance, your Facebook Chat and Google Talk/Hangout conversations by downloading Pidgin, a trusted instant messaging client.

Besides that, you might also want to have a look at chat apps that encrypt conversations such as Cryptocat and Chatcrypt, to name just a few.

Keep Your Data Safe with Secure Backups and File Syncing

As far as file syncing and backup options go, Dropbox stands out for being more than just a free file hosting service. It’s the best online backup option. You can sync files between your devices. With the free 2GB storage, you can share large chunks of data. No more attachments and removable media are needed. In addition to that, your stuff will always be safe and can be instantly restored if any of your devices get broken.

Another collaborative tool that syncs files and makes online backups is SugarSync.  You can try it free for 30 days. From individual to business, SygarSync offers you the plan that suits you best. It helps you decide what and where you want to sync, and automatically backs up all your pictures and videos. Also, you can share files in a snap, whether it’s through social media, e-mail or your blog. More important, the Remote Wipe option removes all synced files from your PC or Mac in case of theft or loss, while the data still resides in the cloud.

Last but not least, Mozy offers three types of products: for Personal Use, Enterprise IT and Business. Mozy takes care of your digital information by offering a simple automatic and secure cloud-based online backup service. Backed by EMC, it stores and protects more information for Fortune 500 businesses than any other company. To use it, simply download the software and create an account.

Use a Password Manager to Generate Strong Passwords

Setting a different password for each website you access may reduce the risk of your password being stolen. This can be a hassle as it may be difficult to remember all of them, especially if you work from different computers and, on top of that, use a smartphone and an iPad.

This is where password managers can help. Simply put, a password manager generates strong, random and unique passwords and remembers them for you.

There are many online password managers available. While there are debates about how safe these are, more and more users would rather keep themselves on the safe side instead of having their social media, online banking and e-mail accounts hacked.

Lastpass is free and offers various features apart from generating a password for a new site. It helps you centralize your data while keeping it safe, back up your files automatically and send login information for shared accounts to friends and family who are also LastPass users. Plus, for $12 per year you can get unlimited mobile access.

Roboform manages all your passwords automatically and connects you to the websites of your choice. It’s fast, secure and intelligent. It works with Internet Explorer, Firefox, AOL/MSN, and many other browsers and fully supports Windows 7.

KeePass offers strong security, doesn’t require installation and the password database can be easily transferred to another computer. What’s even better is that it can be translated in over 30 languages!

There you go! These are just four easy steps to keep you safe on your online journey.

Over to you:

What other tips can you share that make your internet life secure? Sound off in the comments below.

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